Michael's Dispatches

Important Update



The British Ministry of Defence canceled my embed after today's dispatch.  Please Read "Bad Medicine".

Next Stop U.S. Forces.

Your Writer,



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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sanmon · 11 years ago
    Are you calling Michael a Liar?
    This does not seem to be the character of the man that many have come to know through his reporting. Just because you gave him the go-ahead at one command level does not mean a higher command did not make this request for him leave. If you did not request him to leave then please make a strong public request for him to return soon. He seems to have the character to accept your request of returning in the near future.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 11 years ago
    Michael, I respectfully request you stomp out this brushfire.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 11 years ago
    it seems our government, past and present, is no better than the MoD.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    WCOG · 11 years ago
    Here's Michael's opinion of what happened, from an email:

    "The specific problem for me was that MoD cut off the embed with zero warning and no chance for me to prepare. … MoD is giving the reason that my long stay is prompting uproar among journalists who cannot get embed slots. I’ve embedded longer in Iraq with combat troops, for instance, than any journalist of any sort. I don’t buy their backpedalling now that this is public, but even if they are being truthful the truth itself is lame reason to stop me embed. There is no journalist in the U.K. or the U.S. who spends more time in combat. It’s silly to lump me in with the war-tourist sorts who come here for a month or two (usually a week or two). Among those who do come, most rarely if ever go on true combat missions to see what our lads are dealing with."

    It seems like the MODs explanation is correct, at least technically. That doesn't make their decision any less stupid, though, and I'm sure that there are just hundreds of reporters from the Times and the Telegraph who are itching to zoom out to FOB Jackson so that they can tab around with 2RIFLES just like Mr. Yon. The immersive, high-quality reporting that we've seen come out of the British press should make that evident to everyone.

    Some REMF PAO needs to be posted to Brunei for this one. Seriously. Either this is stupidity on a monumental scale or the MOD is trying to keep the British public from learning the reality of conditions in Helmand, in which case the public is going to have to make do with stories written at a distant remove from the fighting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cog · 11 years ago
    Michael Yon's work covering the U.K. soldiers in Afghanistan has been immeasurable. Most of the British news I get is from the BBC, Telegraph or Times, which comes from a starting point far from objective. Yon has been able to show individual stories that drive home how much of a sacrifice these soldiers are making.

    I hope this can be worked out.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    carol · 11 years ago
    "Cut off", "cancelled" - Michael's terms

    "chosen to characterise it as such" - MOD says.

    "it" would be.......?

    Michael, they probably want you out of the way so Arabella can come visit for a few days.

    Excuse my cynicism.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kasmiir · 11 years ago
    "I second the motion to find some Canadians. Things are always hot in Kandahar."

    My son is an infantryman with 5/2 SBCT in Kandahar. His battalion has suffered 7 KIA in less than a month since they deployed there, including 4 dead yesterday in what I would guess to be a planned ambush of their rapid response to the Kandahar City car bombings. I'm frankly a little tired of hearing exclusively about the bravery of the British and Canadians, or even the Marines and Special Forces. There are many brave men risking their lives in what is now major combat in Southern Afghanistan.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dennis ODonnell. · 11 years ago
    You connect me with the soldiers and marines in the fight in a way no other journalist has.
    God Bless you. Keep Safe. Trust the path you are on. Thank you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pid · 11 years ago
    Have fun asking the MoD why Michael's embed was cancelled. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/ContactUs/AskAMinister.htm
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Geoff Milke · 11 years ago
    Geraldo was "disembeded" from OIF1 for standing in front of a camera and giving general comments about what was happening where. Mr. Yon went WAY beyond that. If Mr. Yon prints anything like that while with US troops he will be dimembedded forever. And well he should be.

    Yon's reports on the war have been fantastic, but this one is beyond the pale. This was a bonehead stunt that makes me wonder what was Yon thinking. Perhaps he just no longer cares about following the rules of reporting as an embed and wants to make a name for himself as a "maverick"

    Those of you who think its perfectly fine for Yon to print info like this should think twice. If an Afghani was found with those photos on his person he'd be promptly shipped to Gitmo.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul · 11 years ago
    I greatly appreciate your despatches. Any chance of embedding with the other fighting coalition members, like the Danes or the Ests, after a round with the Yanks?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ObeliskToucher · 11 years ago
    From CNN's coverage, Geraldo did quite a bit more than that to deserve his expulsion from Iraq (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/01/sprj.irq.geraldo/):

    "In the live broadcast, Rivera told his photographer to aim the camera at the sand in front of him. Rivera then outlined a map of Iraq, and showed the relative location of Baghdad and his location with the 101st Airborne. He then showed where the 101st would be going next. "
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alan Johnson · 11 years ago
    I ran across this link do you think it may have anything to do with what occurred? Who knows who is using it...

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Capt Jo · 11 years ago
    While I enjoy reading Michael's articles about the great work that the British Army are doing in Helmand and his photographs truely reflect the strain of this campaign... He is ecoming a real headache!

    He claims that it costs him $1,000 per day to be here in Helmand... On what? We provide him with bed in our plush tented accom, feed him square meals a day and he travels with the units he is embedded with! Between embeds he does travel around Afghanistan on a friend's private jet, maybe this is where all his readers' donations go?!

    I have personally witnessed the Media Ops team here at Camp Bastion (all TWO of them) bend over backwards to look after him; driving him about, carrying his kit and chasing around after his missing FedEx packages. Not once have I seen him thank them! When he does not get what he wants he is rude and aggressive.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    Ahhh...Capt. Jo, the MOD representative!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Auntof 3 ANG · 10 years ago
    In regards to the roads, there is a group on the way in a few weeks who will be building roads for a year. I also just want to say that Oliver North and Chuck Holten are to be reporting from Afghanistan the month of Sept. I believe from Kandahar. Ollie has his own web site, C Holten has Boots on the Ground. Whether they will be reporting live I do not know. A couple other sources to try to keep up with what is happening.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Capt Jo · 10 years ago

    I am a serving officer in Afghanistan, but by no means a 'cheerleader' for the MOD!

    As I said, we (those of us who can be bothered) enjoyed reading Michael's pieces.

    But I witnessed him being rude and aggressive towards those whose job it is to make his embed run as smoothly as possible. They are the 'fixers' not the policy-makers... Doing their job as best they can and dedicated a disproportionate amount of time looking after Michael, who never once said 'thank you'.

    "Manners Maketh Man!"
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rosser Bobbitt · 10 years ago
    I went to the MOD web site and submitted an question about this. MOD did not respond to my request for information. They did respond to a friend, a retired British brigadier, who was sent to http://www.blogs.mod.uk/defence_news/page/3/, where it says: "Michael Yon embed with British Forces (added 1715GMT)
    "There has been some recent discussion online about reporter Michael Yon's embed with British Forces in Afghanistan and speculation over why it ended.
    "Michael Yon’s embed with British forces has not been cancelled and we are disappointed that he has chosen to characterise it as such. We have hosted Michael with British forces for five weeks, some two weeks longer than originally planned.
    "We welcome Michael’s thorough reporting of the work of British forces and we have no objection to his recent piece entitled "Bad Medicine". All journalists embedding with the UK military are given access to troops without censorship. However all materials coming out of theatre is checked to ensure that key tactical details that would aid the enemy are not being made public. Michael’s dispatch was subject to these checks and was given the go-ahead.
    "Posted at 01:31 PM"

    Someone told him to go. Based on my experinece at parsing the language used by my government, I see that the closest MOD comes to explaining why Michael had to leave was to say: "some two weeks longer than originally planned." I read that as: "We got tired of him and told him to go."

    And it's always good to go on the attack: "disappointed that he has chosen to characterise it as such." Meaning "We really are good guys and look what he's done."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    Capt. Jo,
    Seems you spent an inordinate amount of time following around Michael's fixers/handlers to know he NEVER said thank you. Their job was to make the embed run smoothly for who? I have been a serving officer in combat as well and was way too busy to do what you seem to have done. I respect your service as I do all those who are in that hellhole and hope you get out soon, along with everyone else. It is a waste of blood and money.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    R. James 11th ACR ba · 10 years ago
    Capt. Jo

    Your question: He claims that it costs him $1,000 per day to be here in Helmand... On what?

    I am sad that you are not smart enough to figure that out or maybe you just want to vent a little:
    Just a guess or two here from reading years of Mr. Yon’s work.

    Combat Insurance…what do you think that cost? You don’t pay it Capt. Jo so you don’t think about it.

    Medical Insurance….what do you think that cost for an injury that happens in a war zone? You don’t pay that either Capt. Jo so you don’t think about it. If Yon is injured for life…who pays for it…not the VA.

    Body Amour….vest, helmet, glasses, gloves, boots….Oh Capt Jo you get yours free, so you don’t think about that.

    The phone bill/ sat bill to transmit data….that can not be ensure to be available by the military…in a timely matter. Something else you don’t pay for Capt. Jo, so you don’t think about it.

    For the camera and lens that are used to shot the great pictures…I think the camera body is to 5k and camera lens can be the same if not more. But again Capt. Jo you don’t think about that either.

    There is a web site so there has to be some kind of office support, backend support. There is some extra cost there as well, but Capt. Jo all of your support services are taken care of….so you don’t think about that cost either.

    Capt. Jo you get all of the above and a pay check. Capt. Jo you just keep thinking about those free meals and a place to sleep. Let the enlisted do the deep thinking!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark M · 10 years ago

    This is how you are received by some members of the UK defence community http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/387486-new-michael-yon-dispatch-afghanistan.html

    You are held in the highest regard by many in the UK. Keep up the great work!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter Walnut · 10 years ago
    Michael, your reporting and photographs are outstanding and deserve some sort of award. More than that you deserve the thanks of the British forces and public for giving us a glimpse into what is happening. With a few notable exceptions, UK reporting from Afghanistan is a simplistic disgrace, pumping out the MoD line and failing to carry out any serious analysis or to draw accurate comprisons with other counter insurgency campaigns. I have a son currently helping to man the MERT in Bastion and the story of him and all his American, Danish and British comrades needs to be told. This campaign is being badly mismanged at both the political and higher military levels and the truth needs to come out as it did for the 'shell shortage' in 1915; it might help to get rid of our incompetent and anti-military government. The Karzai government is not only not wanted by the fiercely independent and tribal Afghan people but it is illegitimate as it commands no popular mandate. Karzai is NATO's man just as Diem was America's in Viet Nam. General McChrystal appears to have the right ideas but so far support from his political masters has been conspicuously lacking and Hilary Clinton's remarks about other military opinions are a disgrace. This campaign will only be won by a unified political and military leadership and a consistent doctrine that puts civil development, protected by military resources, as the primary goal.
  • This commment is unpublished.
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